Epidemiogical studies have shown television watching to be a risk factor for the development of obesity in children. The effect of reducing television watching and other sedentary behaviors as a component of a comprehensive obesity treatment program has not been thoroughly tested.
To compare the influence of targeting decreases in sedentary behavior vs increases in physical activity in the comprehensive treatment of obesity in 8- to 12-year-old children.
Randomized, controlled outcome study.
Childhood obesity research clinic.
Ninety families with obese 8- to 12-year-old children were randomly assigned to groups that were provided a comprehensive family-based behavioral weight control program that included dietary and behavior change information but differed in whether sedentary or physically active behaviors were targeted and the degree of behavior change required.
Results during 2 years showed that targeting either decreased sedentary behaviors or increased physical activity was associated with significant decreases in percent overweight and body fat and improved aerobic fitness. Self-reported activity minutes increased and targeted sedentary time decreased during treatment. Children substituted nontargeted sedentary behaviors for some of their targeted sedentary behaviors.
These results support reducing sedentary behaviors as an adjunct in the treatment of pediatric obesity.